Rule The World never came off the bridle in winning a hot renewal of the Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas, in which the long odds-on Champagne Fever was a big disappointment.
Trained by Mouse Morris, Rule The World had only previously met with defeat once before, to Our Vinnie at Cork, but the presence of the Cheltenham and Punchestown Bumper winner meant he was sent off a 7-1 chance.
Champagne Fever (1-4) set out to make all, closely followed by Minsk, but Ruby Walsh was niggling from some way out and eventually the grey nearly stopped to a walk. Minsk took over turning in, but Davy Russell had not moved a muscle and breezed past to win by 16 lengths on Rule The World.
Morris said: "It's easy to be a good judge when you have a machine like that. He's a nice horse and we'll have to talk to the owners to see where we go - he's still a big, raw horse.
"Davy gave him a super ride and he jumped super. We'll take it handy with him."
It was later reported that Champagne Fever was found to be suffering from a respiratory tract infection by the racecourse vet.
Bookmakers were impressed by the winner, with Stan James going 12-1 from 25s for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Paddy Power also went 12-1, while Coral quote the son of Sulamani at 10s.
Charlie's Vic was the latest to prevent Our Girl Salley from getting off the mark over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
Noel Kelly trains the Derek Fox-ridden winner and said: "I always thought chasing was going to be her game. I thought it was a brilliant ride - he dropped out and did what he was told, as he always does.
"He came late and timed it well. I think she was slightly over the top when she ran at Punchestown in the spring and we had plenty of confidence in her coming here today. We'll look for a mares' novice chase for her now."
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